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to canada as this category 3 storm draws closer. but forecasters now say the storms should weak ton a category 2 by the time it scrapes up against north carolina's outer banks later tonight and possibly down to a category 1 when it goes by or into massachusetts. nasa now has provided a new image of earl. the space agency reports it took this shot, just after midnight eastern time today and even though earl has lost some of the power since then, you can still get a sense of how enormous this storm is. hours ago, north carolina's governor warned folks in the storm's path it's time to evacuate because in her words, better safe than sorry. >> let me make this very clear to the people of north carolina. once the storm comes in, and it becomes serious, once it is at its worst point, we are not going to put any emergency worker in harm's way. and so if you think there is going to be a problem, evacuate now, but there will be nobody to answer that phone or to come up physically to your house from your local area until the brunt of the storm passes. >> shepard: and a lot of north carolinaens
, evacuations are on and all the way up the coast to canada, watches are up. north carolina's governor has now declared a state of emergency as the storm moves toward the state. forecasters say the strongest winds will likely hit the coast thursday night into friday morning and officials in north carolina are warning vacationers and residents alike to immediately leave isolated sections of the outer banks. >> the later that we were from told us last night, you know, starting at 5:00 this morning, they were mandatory. everybody had to leave. >> it's sad because like reality hasn't really set in because it's so beautiful out and it's like oh, i don't want to leave this. but it's like it's kind of like the calm before the storm. so just trying to keep it cool. keep a cool head and get out as fast as we can, i guess. >> get out as fast as you can. we're hearing of hundreds of cars backed up on the highways that connect the barrier island to the main land but this storm is expected to eventually affect tens of millions of people. team fox coverage. the path of the storm from the fox extreme weathe
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